Everyone who reads this blog is one of two things:
1) a terrific human being who deserves a pat on the bum
You know, the friendly sorta football coach pat on the bum. Not the Sandusky kind, just like… the normal jock homo erotic kind.
2) aware of my “patience for limited accommodations”
See: Home Sweet Home, Punching Girls, Nothing beats the hobo life.
Those of you have seen my room in DC (bow chica wow wow, or really a bit more like this) know this fact even more intimately (seeing is believing). Those unfamiliar: for starters my room was formerly a large hallway.
So, obviously I have a “patience for limited accommodations”. Since being described as having this patience, is the nicest thing anyone has ever written about me I’ll indulge you (read: indulge myself) in the 24 hours surrounding this quote.
The quote was taken from a large excerpt posted on my couchsurfing.com profile. For those of you unfamiliar with couchsurfing, it’s like LinkedIn for unemployed people. We jobless network together, enabling us to sleep on each other’s couches and use one another’s showers.
Essentially, the website creates a social safety net so we can live like carefree butterflies going from flower to flower, slurping down all the sweet nectar we can handle in our greedy, self-indulgent, and gorgeous lives. We forego the song and dance routine of you worker bees slaving away to provide a few specks of pollen for your hive; eagerly signing away your free will, mindlessly taking orders from the queen bee; comfortably buzzing through life waiting for the sweet, sweet honey payoff… only to find on your deathbed that the beekeeper (The Man) was taking it for himself all along!
You never got around to that novel. You’ve made it to only 11 of the 30 ballparks you and your dad promised each other you’d go to. And you remain a novice salsa dancer. You were given a stinger, but you once heard that you’d die if you ever actually used it. So you lay on your deathbed with an unused stinger, another fucking bill, and the nagging feeling that you should’ve stung the bee keeper on his grubby hands and sorted out the rest from there. I mean, back in your younger days you could freaking fly!
Okay, what was this post about again? Right: another post about me sleeping in a weird place. Super original, James. I write one post every 2 months, and somehow manage to make 50% of them the same fucking story only with a different set of retarded YouTube links, and a new relative for me to apologize to.
Back to the quote which falls unfairly short of describing my full “patience”…
The day I earned this praise was to be my last full day on the road, and started similarly to many days in my life. I awoke in Chicago at 8am on a couch belonging to a friend from high school, who up until the night prior, I hadn’t really spoken to for 5 years. I snagged some free wifi (the lifeblood of a couchsurfer), and looked at the drive from Chicago to DC. I didn’t feel like driving 14 hours, so I selected the proud city of Pittsburgh as my home for that evening. I’d return to DC the next day. I hit up a celebrated doughnut shop in Chicago where I was pleased to be given several free doughnuts after tipping the cashier (pay it forward people, didn’t HJO teach you anything? Ignoring the part where he gets stabbed in the end that movie had a compelling message).
Celebrated doughnut aside: why do I go out of my way for shit like a great doughnut? I’ve never eaten a doughnut and thought “hmmm, I wish they combined butter and sugar in a more local, thoughtful way”. Who’s ever eaten a doughnut and thought how it could have been better or different in any way? The only thought after a doughnut is “that was a mistake”.
I ate the treats outside and had a lovely chat with the two architects dining next to me. They give me their business cards and tell me to get in touch with them. Turns out their names are the same names of the architectural firm. Back to the hive and Civil Engineering for James? I’d think on that later. Right then, I needed to find a bed in Pittsburgh.
I hop on couchsufing and fire off a generic message to the first 6 people that pop up in Pittsburgh. I don’t care who they are. I just need a couch, and I’m confident they’ll be more scared of me than I am of them (I’ve been on the road for 4 months at this point. And that extended duration has certain… side effects on one’s appearance).
I stop off for Thai food in Toledo, Ohio. A decision that resulted in the digestive issues one would expect from Midwestern panang curry. Ohio was slow going thanks to frequent pit stops, and INFINITY tolls! Everyone always asks “what was the best place you visited?” This can be tough to answer. You know what is not tough to answer? “What was the worst place you visited?” Because it is goddamn Ohio. I hate Ohio. A visit to Ohio is the tourist equivalent of paying a hooker for zero of the sex, and all of the STDs. Like when Angelina Jolie asked Billy Bob Thorton for a vial of his blood. (Went there! CELEBRITY B-U-R-N, BURN!)
So I crawl out of the Buckeye state in what was one of the lowest moments of my life. Holding back diarrhea and begging a toll booth attendant to let me through despite coming up short on my $11.50 toll. I scraped up all the change I had in the car, and they probably felt that my life must be worse than theirs and let me pass out of pity, and this is coming from an Ohio toll booth attendant.
More Ohio hatred asides: Ohio, you are pathetic. You’re the 13th most obese state in the US. If you rule out all of the South, thus leaving only the 40-odd states that people respect, then you come in about 3rd. Maybe it has something to do for your obsession with Ohio State football and their laughable buckeye mascot. You are literally rooting for a ball of peanut butter coated in chocolate. And when football pauses for one moment, then that band comes on and becomes your new god for the next 4 minutes. NOBODY GIVES A SHIT. It is a f**king marching band for Christ sake. Is your kid in the band? No? Then you shouldn’t care about a marching band. And don’t even start about some tuba player dotting the “i”. Eat a salad and do something productive with your time like write a blog nobody cares about.
While on the road I get a couchsurfing hit. A pedicab driver will let me crash with him after he gets off work at midnight. Huzzah! That last sentence, while bone chillingly scary and pathetic to most, represents a moment of great joy and success for yours truly. I finally arrive in Pittsburgh at 8 pm, park in a garage and need to kill the next 4 hours until my pedicab prince can rescue me.
I end up at a stand-up comedy open mic because I wanted to make the day even more depressing than it was. I’d batted around a few new jokes I was thinking of on the drive that day and gave it a shot. I went about as well as expected… which is not as good as “bad”, but not as bad as Mike Birbiglia’s “human beings don’t like me”. All things being relative, 2 lines did land strong, and I’ll give them to you delightfully out of context:
1) Yo girl, you ever made love on the beach before? It’s about to smell like it.
2) I was watching a lot of Star Wars and getting pretty good at being a virgin
On top of the misery of my set I then need to kill more time and hang out with the other “comedians”. You completely understand why I use quotes there if you’ve seen me do stand up. It is hard to find a more depressing group of people then a group of open mic comics. You can be sure that nobody has business cards let alone cards where their name matches the company name. Now thoroughly miserable I head out to the pedicab garage to meet Levi…
… to be continued
PS: Sorry about the bee rant. I think I’ve drunk a little too much of the open- road-Alexander-Supertramp Kool-Aid. Sadly, I’m writing this while drinking even more of the punch, which tonight is in the form of a small pot of “Moroccan Mint” tea at my local fair trade coffee shop. Its 7:30pm, and I’m here alone. I need to get back to the hive and fast. At least bees have someone to dance with.
PPS: a guy next me right now is frantically working on his MacBook in order to pay off some taxes he owes tonight which he forgot about. A window into my future? Is this life outside of the sweet honeycomb? Give me the blue pill!!!
4 of the dozens of Lucy look alike pieces of street badger art in Millennium Park, Chicago. Like all public art the artist describes it’s purpose as “to make the viewer more aware of their space”. I swear to god, every piece of large public art has this as the sole explanation of it’s purpose. This is the greatest cop-out of all time. What about “this shit is fun to look at. Having it hear sure makes this park more interesting huh?” That is a perfectly acceptable explanation for it.
The Bean in Millennium Park is an amazing tribute to an under-appreciated Orson Scott Card character. On a sunny day though, it should be renamed to “Holly Shit don’t look dirrectly at that god aweful migraine machine!” as its curves serve to blast the awesome power of the sun directly at your face no matter where you are
Chicago at Sunset #travelblog #barf
Sneak peak at part 2 of this post: The view from the pad I ended up crashing at in Pittsburgh